Diana Abu-Jaber’s vibrant, humorous memoir weaves together stories of being raised by a food-obsessed Jordanian father with tales of Lake Ontario shish-kabob cookouts and goat-stew feasts under Bedouin tents in the desert. These sensuously evoked repasts, complete with recipes, in turn illuminate the two cultures of Abu-Jaber’s childhood (American and Jordanian) while helping to paint a loving and complex portrait of her impractical, displaced immigrant father who, like many an immigrant before him, cooked to remember the place he came from and to pass that connection on to his children.
The Language of Baklava irresistibly invites us to sit down at the table with Abu-Jaber’s family, sharing unforgettable meals that turn out to be as much about “grace, difference, faith, love” as they are about food.
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